Few races remain in the season
The 2013 racing season takes a step closer to ending today. Williams Grove Speedway operates tonight with a features-only format. Starters are by invitation. A pill draw inversion will determine the final starting lineup. Four divisions will be in action. The 410 and 358 sprint cars are joined by the super sportsman and 358 late models. Race time is 7:30. Division champions also will be honored. Fred Rahmer (410 sprints), Kevin Nouse (358 sprints), Frankie Herr (super sportsman) and Wes Alleman (358 late models) will be honored. Don Kreitz Jr. will be recognized for winning the 2013 diamond series title. Rahmer is not expected to race.
Susquehanna Speedway has one final sprint car program set for Nov. 16 and it is a big one. The 410 sprint cars will be in action with a $10,010 to win show. Also on the program are 358 sprint cars. Why the odd amount? It’s 10 grand plus an extra 10 bucks, one for every year Todd and Rhonda Fisher have owned the speedway. The payoff is the largest in the 59-year history of the track. Nov. 17 is the rain date.
While on the subject of Susquehanna Speedway, I must mention they are racing today with the ninth annual Candy Bowl Scramble featuring small block modifieds, ARDC wingless midgets, 600cc micro sprints, sidewinder sprints, Legends Cars and Lincoln Speedway thunder cars. Action gets underway at 2 p.m. Susquehanna will also present a 200-lap enduro race Nov. 2.
The silly season of driver changes and rumors is now in full swing. Craig Dollansky is leaving his No. 7 sprint car after the Charlotte World Finals next month. No replacement has been named. Michael Heffner has named a driver to replace Lance Dewease: Greg Hodnett will pilot the car in 2014. His first race will be tonight as a teammate of Dewease. Car owner Rob Sell’s phone has been ringing but published reports have Sell scaling back after a career year with Fred Rahmer. Sells currently plans to put his son Derek back in the car. The youngster is in college and will race part time. The rumor mill has Doug Esh in discussions with Michael Heckman, who needs a driver now that Keith Kauffman has retired. Esh would be a good replacement in that car because he is hands on. As always, time will tell.
Fred Rahmer’s accolades continue. Rahmer has won three championships this season – the Central PA Sprint Car Championship along with track titles at Williams Grove and Lincoln. Overall Rahmer finished the year with seven wins, which places him third overall in the midstate. Rahmer scored 60 top 10 finishes in 65 races. His unbelievable run in the Sells car came after a disappointing season last year with Chad and Jenn Clemens as car owners. The ride was Rahmer’s to keep if he wanted it but Rahmer himself decided it was time to retire.
Selinsgrove Speedway has announced it will transition to the 360 cubic inch sprint car engine used in other parts of the country. This move puts the track in line with other cars traveling from other areas. Currently the rules call for a 358 cubic inch limit. The Snyder County oval will also continue with late models, pro stocks and roadrunners next season.
Brian Montieth is the leading 410 sprint car feature winner in the region this season. Greg Hodnett has won eight times and Fred Rahmer seven. I doubt we will see any high season win totals any time soon with the current parity in sprint car racing.
NASCAR is at Martinsville Speedway for the Goody’s 500 Sprint Cup race Sunday at 1:30 p.m. The points battle is tight with Jimmie Johnson holding a scant four-point lead over Matt Kenseth. Kyle Busch, Kevin Harvick and Jeff Gordon follow. The spread from first to fifth in points is only 34. Martinsville is a half-mile racetrack that always produces crashes that could shuffle the points. ESPN has TV coverage. Jimmie Johnson is the defending race champion.
Joe Nemechek’s son, John Hunter Nemechek, will make his debut this week end in the truck series at Martinsville. The youngster is just 16 years old.
I can’t fail to mention the passing of Paul “Pap” Dickson recently. Many of us didn’t know his real first name. He was just “Pap” to us all. Dickson was always fun to be around and the first one with a funny story or joke to share. Dickson traveled to the races with his sons, Kenny and Rick, for many years. Along the way the team won a bunch of races and track championships. When Kenny retired as a driver his son Nick came along and continues the winning ways. Two years ago Rick Dickson lost a battle with cancer and now Pap Dickson is gone as well. Both are missed.
Until next week, please drive safely.
Craig Rutherford writes about motorsports for The Sentinel.